7:00pm Thursday 7th February 2013
By Josh Layton
PUPPIES will be microchipped under plans to address the rising number of attacks by dangerous dogs, which have resulted in several children being mauled in Swindon.
The proposals have been drawn up after growing calls from animal charities for the Government to take action against irresponsible owners who use their pets as weapons.
Under the measures, unveiled by Environment Secretary Owen Paterson, owners will also face prosecution if an animal attacks anyone in their home.
Groups including the RSPCA and the Dogs Trust have called for compulsory microchipping so owners can be traced through an electronic record. The Adver told last month how paramedics were called out 37 times last year to animal bites, with babies and young children among the victims.
The most recent recorded incident involving a dog left a three-year-old girl, from Park South, needing to be airlifted to hospital in November.
Two-year-old Keiron Guess also suffered serious facial injuries after being savaged by a Stafford-shire bull terrier in June.
He underwent 10 hours of surgery to reconstruct his face following the attack by a neighbour’s pet in Moredon.
Coun Derique Montaut (Lab, Liden, Eldene and Park South) has spoken out before to urge tougher punishments for the owners whose dogs are out of control.
He said: “This is one way to address the problem of owners of dangerous dogs and irresponsible owners, which continues to be a problem which is leading to children being disfigured.
“Dogs are also being bought during Christmas and times of recession and then abandoned, and part of the problem has been being able to trace the owners.
“There is also a problem with dog faeces and a lack of bins, which is a problem in Liden, and this need to be addressed by the local authority.
“The plans are a step in the right direction but it is not a panacea for resolving all the issues and I would like to see the legislation broadened to take in these wider issues.”
More than 6,000 people a year are treated in hospital for dog bites nationally, with figures doubling over the past decade.
The chips, which are already used by vets at Drove Veterinary Hospital, contain the owner’s name and address as well as a unique identity number.
Owners will have three years to comply with the new regime under the plans.
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